What I’ve Been Thinking About with Darin Bowden

The problem with modern architecture


Although Houston is the fifth largest city in the USA one crucial detail is noticed when driving around. That is the increasing cookie cutter urban area that suffocates a small portion of the city that is walkable. Along with the miles of highway roads, thousands of strip malls, and blocks of apartments, one thing is clear- the infrastructure in the States is not meant for walking.

This non-walkable setting causes isolation for many people as it lessens spontaneous interactions. One cannot just walk to the nearest grocery store to grab eggs or flour because the average grocery store is 2.14 miles away. Vox says, “There’s data that shows that both car-heavy places and a lack of access to transit have a detrimental effect on socializing and a sense of community, especially for those who can’t drive.” Socialization is an important aspect of life, and as many people do not own cars the strain is laid upon parents.

The reasoning behind many parents that live in the suburbs is that kids need a yard to go outside and see people, but this is not very realistic, socializing wise. In order to go anywhere a car is needed but most parents lack proper time to drive their children around.

So truly how happy is everyone? Working a job or going to school all day to come home and look forward to the weekend, without being able to do anything fun during the week because everything is so far away. However, this doesn’t just effect the average family, the elderly are also affected. Vox says, “One study of mobility among older people in Arlington, Texas, found that the lack of access to public transportation in a low-density city makes it difficult for older people to get around, making socializing and maintaining friendships and other relationships that much harder — all the more worrisome because older people in the US are more likely to live alone than others elsewhere in the world.”

So the question arrises. What can be done to help curve this crisis? Shifting buildings around is not realistic so something that could help is building sidewalks to encourage walking or improving public transportation, i.e. buses or trains that could make it easier to move around without a car.